County Executive’s Corner: “Reopening Rockland”

By County Executive Ed Day

It does not appear that Rockland County and the rest of the Mid-Hudson Region will be ready to reopen on Friday, May 15. But it is possible that we will fully meet the criteria to reopen as early as next week.

To be clear, in order to begin an economic restart and enter Phase 1 of Governor Cuomo’s plan to reopen the economy the Mid-Hudson Region must meet seven separate criteria. Those criteria are:

• Hospitalization decline – 14-day decline – based on 3-day average. Rockland has met.
• Decline in hospital deaths – 14-day decline – based on 3-day average. Rockland has not met.
• New hospitalizations – under 2 people per 100,000 residents – based on 3-day average. Rockland has not met.
• Total Beds Available – have at least 30% of total hospital beds available. Rockland has not met.
• ICU Beds Available – have at least 30% of ICU beds available. Rockland has met.
• Diagnostic Testing – conduct 30 diagnostic tests for every 1,000 residents per month. Rockland has met.
• Contact Tracing – have at least 30 contact tracers per 100k residents. Rockland is considered to have met this metric. (New York State will be overtaking this process in the coming weeks.)

We are close and are now participating in daily regional calls to discuss these criteria and the steps being taken to meet them. We will share any decisions made regionally as quickly as we can to ensure the public and local businesses are all on the same page.

We have already begun working on a Rockland County specific approach and what we aim to accomplish locally. We will continue to work closely with our partners at the Town and Village level and have been collecting data on their concerns over the last week.

The regional approach is one that makes sense and provides us with an opportunity to tailor any plan to fit the needs of our residents. We are doing everything humanly possible to meet the Governor’s criteria and reopen Rockland as quickly and safely as possible.

This is our chance to get the local economy back up and running in the safest, most effective manner possible. We should look at the data, respect the data but not get mired in the data. We understand that our residents are concerned about opening too soon, not opening at all, and the safety of their friends, family and neighbors above all else. These concerns are totally warranted and there is no one size fits all answer. But know that we will take these steps judiciously and with clear purpose as we begin to restart Rockland County. We will be guided by a people first approach because we are all neighbors at the end of the day.

We will get through this as we have done so before. We got through an attack on our Country just 30 miles south of us, superstorms and hurricanes came our way and we dealt with them and moved forward, and we came back from the brink of bankruptcy to one of the strongest economies in the State in a short six years. We never give in and we never give up. We are Rocklanders, and I am proud to be your County Executive during this difficult time. We will get through this, and we will be all the stronger for it.